Newbie question about T-max/Microdol-X developer...

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Sagelike, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. Sagelike

    Sagelike Member

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    Okidoke, semi digital convert (still love photoshop), long time reader, first time poster.
    I'm currently starting to get into film. I'm shooting with a rollei and kodak film.


    Now on to my question. I like contrast in my shots. On my first roll I shot this:
    [​IMG]

    and many other shots that day. They all came out with this type of tonal range.
    What you are looking at here is a print of T-Max 400 with Microdol X. Exposure was stopped down about 2 stops (1 4/5). I believe I gave it a little less time in soup. This print was without a filter.

    Love this shot and what it provided me in terms of tonal range. It still came out a bit gray for my tastes but I figured that could be fixed with a filter later on.

    I later decided to see what the T-max film would look like with T-max developer and here you have the print to that:
    [​IMG]

    I might have only stopped down 1 1/2 here and I kept it in the soup per recommended time with a bit of burning in the print.

    These shots and others developed with T-max game back grayer and less contrast as with my batch on Microdol-x.

    Now from what I can tell, the T-max developer gave me less contrast and less punch from the Microdol-x.

    Is this the case? Does Microdol essentially give more contrast than T-max and is that across the board with all Kodak films? I'm not really in the funds to keep testing it out :smile:.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 18, 2008
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    In theory Microdol-X should give less contrast but as it requires slightly more exposure to get the same tonality then you may have more contrast for the wrong reasons.

    Ian
     
  3. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Unless you have tested Tmax 400 to determine your personal film speed and development times for both TMax and Microdol it is diffuclt to judge one aginst the the other. Microdal stock is very different than Microdal 1:3 while Tmax seems to give the same results regardless of the delution. If your negatives from TMax seem gray then you may need to increase your development times.
     
  4. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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  5. Sagelike

    Sagelike Member

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    No I mean that, while I might be going on what the meter was saying, which was two stops less, with the changing conditions (for example the amount of cloud cover when I actually pressed the shutter) it might have only a been a stop and half instead of actually 2 stops.

    I know it isn't the most precise, but street photography usually isn't a science.

    Thanks for the info.
    I'm gonna have to sit down one afternoon and try all that.
    *grumble*
     
  6. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    I know it isn't the most precise, but street photography usually isn't a science.

    Thanks for the info.
    I'm gonna have to sit down one afternoon and try all that.
    *grumble*[/QUOTE]

    Because street photography is not a science you really do need to test your film and developer combo, you only get one shot.
     
  7. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    The Microdol produces a speed loss...from box speed of the film, therefore if you exposed the film at the box ISO of 400, then developed in Microdol-X developer your negatives will be overall thinner, especially the dark shadow areas, and if you print both Microdol-X and T-Max developed negatives on the same grade paper it is indeed possible that you will see "contrastier" prints from the Microdol-X negs. What I see from your T-Max developed neg is more detail in the shadows, showing the T-Max developer renders ISO closer to box speed. Your best solution is to choose a printing paper to "fit" your negatives, or use Variable-Contrast paper with the VC filters on your enlarger. In this way, with average negatives from most films and developers you can achieve contrast to your taste.
     
  8. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Sagelike,

    Looking at the two posts it seems as though you've recorded a nice range on each negative. It could be that I don't understand the question, but you should have no trouble adjusting the contrast during printing. Unless you are going to shoot everything on a roll under the same conditions you'll never be able to control the contrast entirely by exposure and development. Adjustments are going to have to be made during printing.

    BTW: I enjoyed the photographs.

    Neal Wydra
     
  9. Paul Verizzo

    Paul Verizzo Member

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    But why Microdol-X?

    TMY has grain as fine as Plus-X, so there's not much to gained in the grain department. And then you lose some of the great definition that the T-Max family is noted for.
     
  10. Sagelike

    Sagelike Member

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    'ppreciate the advice guys.

    I'll have to just feel it out I guess.
    Still trying to get my film legs under me.
     
  11. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Start shooting a single film--I always preferred Tri-X for street shooting; and stick with a single developer. I prefer D23 for street shooting. Do the advised tests for a personal exposure index and developing timeL then stick with that film and developer combo for a year until you know them intimately.